DECATUR— Carbon monoxide (CO) is often called “the silent killer” because it is an odorless and colorless gas. Every year more than 400 people in the United States die from CO poisoning not linked to fires and more than 4,000 are hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CO is produced when you burn fuel in vehicles, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, gas ranges, furnaces and fireplaces. CO can build up indoors and
poison people and animals who breathe it. In some cases, fatal levels of CO can be produced in minutes.
HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital says as the weather becomes colder people are turning up their heating systems and need to use caution.
According to medical experts at HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital, it’s important to know the symptoms of CO poisoning so you can recognize them. CO isn’t as easily identifiable as smoke from a fire or
the smell of mercaptan, which is added to natural gas, so it gives off the smell of rotten eggs.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include: Headache, dizziness, upset stomach/ vomiting, confusion, weakness and loss of consciousness.
If you or a loved one experiences any of the above symptoms, call 911 or get to an emergency room as soon as possible.